Hastings Direct news: young drivers

With young people the drivers of tomorrow, it's perhaps little surprise that there is such an emphasis being placed on driver education at the moment. The focus on how to best educate youngsters about driving has been particularly evident this week, with it being stressed to both parents and schools that it's never too soon to encourage good habits behind the wheel.

'Cassie's law': 609 drivers lose licence

police road checks

However, the most notable story to make headlines this week is the discovery that 609 motorists have had their driving licence taken away from them after failing roadside eyesight tests, in the space of two years.

As the Guardian reports, the new powers, known as 'Cassie's law', allow the driver and vehicle licensing authority (DVLA) to order drivers to stop driving on the basis of a failed police eyesight test, without delay.

The proposal was introduced in 2013 following the death of Cassie McCord, 16, who suffered fatal head injuries after 87-year-old Colin Horsfall lost control of his vehicle in Colchester, Essex, in 2011. It later came to light that Horsfall had failed a police eyesight test in the days prior to the accident but a legal loophole had meant he was not immediately suspended from driving.

The law was swiftly changed and since the new procedures came into force two years ago, police in Britain have applied 631 times to revoke licences on the basis that the licence holder could not accurately read number plates in front of them. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that in 609 of these cases police were successful.

Petition calls for driver training in schools

driving learning

The prospect of having driving training as part of the national curriculum might seem odd at present, but it's not such a strange idea, say some of the UK's most influential motoring organisations.

Young Driver, which provides driving training to under-17s in the UK, has lobbied government with a petition to make driving tuition mandatory in schools.

The formal request has the support of major motoring groups including the RAC, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and the Association of British Insurers.

Their argument is that the number of accidents on Britain's roads involving a young driver is unacceptably high, with many new drivers unprepared for stepping behind the wheel alone.

Young Driver carried out its own independent research to support the petition, showing how the youngsters who have completed one of its programmes were half as likely to have been involved in an accident in their early driving career.

Parents urged to set a good example to their kids

family driving

It goes without saying that younger minds are particularly impressionable to the behaviours of others — a fact that those calling for driving to be included in the national curriculum are likely to be making much of.

As such, parents are being urged to ensure that they are displaying exemplary behaviour when they have their children in the car to avoid them picking up bad driving habits at an early age.

The Kids in the Car campaign ponders: What kind of driver are you teaching your child to be? Psychologist Bill Carcary explains that children are "automatically programmed" to mimic the actions of those close to them and this could extend to when they are old enough to learn to drive.

The Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland have placed their support behind the campaign, asking parents to ensure that their driving etiquette is at their finest when they have young people in the car.

The 'selfie generation' refuse to put down their device

selfie drivers

Whilst not exclusive to young people, taking a selfie has become an everyday activity for many -- but like anything they have a time and a place.

It emerged this week that some drivers seemingly don't know the right and the wrong time to take a selfie, with one in ten admitting that they have taken a picture of themselves while driving in the last month.

The research from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is even more concerning in light of the fact that the figures were for just a single month — not to mention those that weren't prepared to admit to the act.

Of the 500 drivers questioned by the IAM, 9% put their hands up to having taken a driving selfie in the last month, rising to 15% of 18-24-year-olds and 19% of those aged 25-35.

Video calls weren't uncommon either, with 8% of respondents saying they have used Skype or similar service while driving.

Whether it's the novelty factor or not, IAM chief executive officer Sarah Sillars says that it's "shocking" to see these new trends emerging, calling for more to be done to catch drivers using devices dangerously.

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